New musical about transgender mayor heading to Intiman Theatre

Stu Rasmussen, the mayor of Silverton, Ore., will be the subject of a new stage musical next year at the Intiman Theatre in Seattle. Rasmussen was the country's first openly transgender mayor.
(Kim Murphy / Los Angeles Times)

A new musical about the transgender mayor of Silverton, Ore., is part of the 2013 slate at Seattle’s Intiman Theatre. “Stu for Silverton” is based on the life and political career of Stu Rasmussen, who was born a man and still identifies mainly as a man, but who has had breast implants and dresses as a woman.

Rasmussen was elected mayor of the town in 1988 and 1990 when he still dressed as a man, and then in 2008 under his new transgendered identity; he was reelected in 2010 and again this November.

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“Stu for Silverton” will be one of four productions at the Intiman’s 2013 summer “festival” -- a format that the company has adopted since emerging from a financial crisis early this year.

The Intiman, which had a reputation as one of the country’s leading regional theaters, declared a financial emergency in 2011 and was able to remain in business thanks to a pledge drive that raised $1 million.

The company’s “festival” format is essentially a scaled-back version of a full season that allows the company to operate with a small staff and budget. The Intiman’s 2012 festival included four productions, including a new stage work by sex columnist Dan Savage.

In a video posted on its website, the Intiman describes “Stu for Silverton” as a “story of change in a small town,” and a cross between “Our Town” and “The Rocky Horror Show.” Rasmussen was the first openly transgender mayor of any city in the U.S. On his website, he states that “I’ve been a crossdresser or transvestite my whole life.”

In a Times profile in 2008, Rasmussen said he sometimes goes by the name “Carla Fong.” “My first two terms, I was a very straight-looking guy,” he said.

The Intiman’s 2013 festival will also include a revival of Alice Childress’ “Trouble in Mind,” the Aristophanes classic “Lysistrata” and Nobel laureate Dario Fo’s “We Won’t Pay! We Won’t Pay!”



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He wears skirts and a bra now, but to the town, he’s still Stu


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